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At least 220 fresh coronavirus cases related to Tablighi Jamaat: Centre traces people on war footing

hemin Joy
Last Updated : 01 April 2020, 17:50 IST
Last Updated : 01 April 2020, 17:50 IST
Last Updated : 01 April 2020, 17:50 IST
Last Updated : 01 April 2020, 17:50 IST

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Nearly 220 more fresh cases of COVID-19 linked to Tablighi Jamaat were reported in the country even as the Centre on Wednesday asked states to immediately trace all people who attended the mid-March meet in Delhi and their contacts on a "war footing", fearing that any delay could increase risk of virus spread.

Around 1,000 to 1,200 people were traced by states during the day while the task of identifying another 1,000-1,300 people who attended the meet stares at the authorities.

Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi continued to report a large number of COVID-19 cases linked to the religious gathering of Tablighi Jamaat in south Delhi's Nizamuddin.

The enormity of the situation could be gauged from the fact that a majority of the cases in some states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had links to Delhi meet. Assam joined the list as all the 13 cases, of which 12 were reported on Wednesday, have links to Tablighi Jamaat meet.

While Tamil Nadu reported 50 cases on Tuesday, it rose to 110 cases on Wednesday, taking the total number of those with Delhi links to 190. On the positive side, around 500 people on their own reported to health authorities, taking the total number of people who went to the national capital to 1,103 while leaving around 400 yet to be traced.

In Andhra Pradesh, most of the 67 fresh cases reported since Tuesday 9 pm were linked to Delhi, taking the total to around 85. Altogether, around 300 cases and at least 11 deaths due to Covid-19 across the are linked to this meeting.

In the national capital where 32 cases were reported on Wednesday, 29 belonged to Tablighi Jamaat meet, taking the total to 53.

As states scrambled to identify people who attended the meet and their possible contacts, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a video conference with Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police on actions to be taken on the Delhi meet where he directed the states to complete the tracing of people, as it has "increased the risk" of containment efforts of the pandemic.

At the meeting, the states were sensitized about the need for "intensive contact tracing" of Tablighi Jamaat participants as this has increased the risk of containment efforts of Covid-19. The states were asked to complete the contact tracing process on a war footing, an official statement said.

Gauba also asked states to initiate action for violation of visa condition against the foreigners and the organizers of the event after officials said foreigners who came to Tablighi Jamaat on tourist visas were indulging in preaching and other religious activities, which is not allowed under the travel document issued to them.

However, several states are still scrambling to trace them as several people have gone off the radar by switching off phones while family members are also not cooperating by providing information.

Assam had not reported a single COVID-19 case till Monday but now has five persons with virus infection with links to the Nizamuddin meeting and is now bracing for more such cases. The state government is on its toes as 117 of the 456 people from the state who attended the meet are not traceable with many of them switching off their mobile phones.

Maharashtra has already traced around 200 of the 700 people, who are believed to have attended the event, using a mix of human and technical intelligence to gather the data. Of this, 350-400 of them are from Mumbai and its neighbouring districts of Palghar, Thane and Raigad.

In Kerala, at least 60 people are under observation even as police and health officials said around 310 people attended the Delhi function while Gujarat has identified 70 people who have attended the function.

Bihar has identified 86 people who have attended the meeting, of which 37 have been traced. Efforts are on to trace the rest 49.

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Published 01 April 2020, 14:39 IST

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